Professor Michelle Moulds

Professor Michelle Moulds

Professor Michelle Moulds


BA (Hons), 1996, Sydney
MPsych (Clinical), 1998, Sydney
PhD, 2003, UNSW

Contact details

Email: Professor Michelle Moulds
Fax: (02) 9385 3641

Research Summary

Research Areas: The goal of my research is advance our understanding of how repetitive thinking, such as rumination, maintains depression. My work is driven by a translational approach: I conduct basic science experiments in the laboratory with the long-term goal of translation to empirically supported, evidence-based interventions. My current research program is comprised of experimental and clinical studies that test questions about the consequences of rumination, particularly for memory, in individuals who are currently depressed, as well as those with a history of depression.

Current Research Projects:
Project: Rumination in Depression
Project: Repetitive Thinking: A Transdiagnostic Process


Selected publications:

Joubert, A.E., Grierson, A.B., Chen, A.Z., Moulds, M.L., Werner-Seidler, A., Mahoney, A.E.J., & Newby, J.M. (in press). Managing rumination and worry: A pilot study of an internet intervention targeting repetitive negative thinking in Australian adults. Journal of Affective Disorders.

Moulds, M.L., Black, M.J., Newby, J.M., & Hirsch, C.R. (in press). Correlates of repetitive negative thinking in postnatal first time mothers. Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology.

Samtani, S., Moulds, M.L., Johnson, S.L., Ehring, T., Hyett, M.P., Anderson, R., & McEvoy, P.M. (in press). Higher order repetitive negative thinking is more robustly related to depression, anxiey, and mania than measures of rumination or worry. Cognitive Therapy and Research.

Harrison, V., Moulds, M.L., & Jones, K. (in press). Support from friends moderates the relationship between repetitive negative thinking and postnatal wellbeing during COVID-19. Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology.

Harrison, V., Moulds, M.L., & Jones, K. (in press). Perceived social support and prenatal wellbeing: the mediating effects of loneliness and repetitive negative thinking on anxiety and depression during the COVID-19 pandemic. Women and Birth.

Evoy, P.M., Hyett, M.P., Bank, S.R., Erceg-Hurn, D.M., Johnson, A.R., Kyron, M.J., Saulsman, L.M., Moulds, M.L., Grisham, J.R., Holmes, E.A., Moscovitch, D.A., Lipp, O.V., Campbell, B.N.C., & Rapee, R.M. (in press). Imagery-enhanced versus verbally-based group cognitive behavior therapy for social anxiety disorder: a randomised clinical trial. Psychological Medicine.

Kanstrup, M., Singh, L., Göransson, K.E., Gamble, B., Taylor, R.S., Iyadurai, L., Moulds, M.L., & Holmes, E.A. (2021). A simple cognitive task intervention to prevent intrusive memories after trauma in patients in the Emergency Department: A randomized controlled trial terminated due to COVID-19. BMC Research Notes, 14: 176.

Kanstrup, M., Kontio, E., Geranmayeh, A., Olofsdotter Lauri, K., Moulds, M.L., & Holmes, E.A. (2021). A single case series using visuospatial task interference to reduce the number of visual intrusive memories of trauma with refugees. Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, 28, 109-123.

Hirsch C.R., Meeten F., Newby J.M., O’Halloran, S., Gordon, C., Krzyzanowski, H., & Moulds M.L. (2021). Looking on the bright side reduces worry in pregnancy: training interpretations in pregnant women. Clinical Psychology in Europe, 3(2), e3781.

Newby, J.M., Werner-Seidler, A., Black, M.J., Hirsch, C.R., & Moulds, M.L. (2021). Content and themes of repetitive thinking in postnatal first-time mothers. Frontiers in Psychology: Psychology for Clinical Settings,

Kanstrup, M., Singh, L., Goransson, K.E., Widoff, J., Taylor, R.S., Gamble, B., Iyadurai, L., Moulds, M.L., & Holmes, E.A. (2021). Preventing intrusive memories after trauma via a brief cognitive task intervention in the hospital emergency department: An exploratory randomised controlled pilot trial. Translational Psychiatry, 11:30.

Singh, L., Espinosa, L., Ji, J.L., Moulds, M.L., & Holmes, E.A. (2020). Developing thinking around mental health science: The example of intrusive, emotional mental imagery after psychological trauma. Clinical Neuropsychiatry, 25, 348-363.

Hirsch, C.R., Meeten, F., Gordon, C., Newby, J.M., Bick, D., & Moulds, M.L. (2020). Repetitive negative thinking and interpretation bias in pregnancy. Clinical Psychology in Europe, 2(4), 1-17.

Moulds, M.L., Bisby, M.A., Wild, J., & Bryant, R.A. (2020). Rumination in posttraumatic stress disorder: A systematic review. Clinical Psychology Review, 82, 101910.

Wild J., Greenberg, N., Moulds, M.L., Sharp, M-L., Fear, N., Wessely, S., Harvey, S., & Bryant, R.A. (2020). Pre-incident training to build resilience in first responders: Recommendations on what to and what not to do..Psychiatry: Interpersonal and Biological Processes, 83,128-142.

Hart-Smith, L., & Moulds, M.L. (2020). Mode of processing and vantage perspective of emotional personal material: Abstract thinking is associated with observer recall of positive but not negative memories. Memory, 28, 576-581.

Hart-Smith, L., & Moulds, M.L. (2019). Abstract processing and observer vantage perspective in dysphoria. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 25, 177-191.

Dey, S., Newell, B.R., & Moulds, M.L. (2019). The relative effects of abstract versus concrete processing on proactivity in depression. Behavior Therapy, 50, 325-339.

Beames, J.R., O'Dean, S.M., Grisham, J.R., Moulds, M.L., & Denson, T.F. (2019). Anger regulation in interpersonal contexts: Anger experience, aggressive behavior, and cardiovascular reactivity. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 36, 1441-1458.

Dunn, B.D., Widnall, E., Reed, N., Taylor, R., Owens, C., Spencer, A., Kraag, G., Kok, G., Geschwind, N., Wright, K., Moulds, M.L., MacLeod, A., Handley, R., Richards, D., Campbell, J., & Kuyken, W. (2019). Evaluating Augmented Depression Therapy (ADepT): Study protocol for a pilot randomised controlled trial. Pilot and Feasibility Studies, 5, 63.

Holmes, E.A., Ghaderi, A., Harmer, C.J., Ramchandani, P.G., Cuijpers, P.G., Morrison, A.P., Roiser, J.P., Bockting, C.L.H., O'Connor, R.C., Shafran, R., Moulds, M.L., & Craske, M.G. (2018). The Lancet Psychiatry Commission on psychological treatments research in tomorrow's science. The Lancet Psychiatry, 5, 237-286.

Samtani, S., McEvoy, P.M., Mahoney, A.E.J., Werner-Seidler, A., Li, S.S.Y., McGill, B.C., Tockar, J., & Moulds, M.L. (2018). Examining a transdiagnostic measure of repetitive thinking in depressed, formerly depressed and never-depressed individuals. Journal of Affective Disorders, 229, 515-522. 

McEvoy, P.M., Hyett, M.P., Ehring, T., Johnson, S.L., Samtani, S., Anderson, R., & Moulds, M.L. (2018). Transdiagnostic assessment of negative repetitive thinking and responses to positive affect: Structure and predictive validity for depression, anxiety and mania symptoms. Journal of Affective Disorders, 232, 375-384.

Krans, J., Brown, A.D., & Moulds, M.L. (2018). Can an experimental self-efficacy induction through autobiographical recall modulate analogue posttraumatic stress symptoms? Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 58, 1-11. 

Dey, S., Joormann, J., Moulds, M.L., & Newell, B.R. (2018). The relative effects of abstract versus concrete rumination on the experience of post-decisional regret. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 108, 18-28.

Moulds, M.L., Black, M.J., Newby, J.M., & Hirsch, C.R. (2018). Repetitive negative thinking and its role in perinatal mental health. Psychopathology, 51, 161-166. 

Dey, S., Newell, B.R., & Moulds, M.L. (2018). The relative effects of abstract versus concrete thinking on decision-making in depression. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 110, 11-21.

Venkatesh, S., Moulds, M.L., & Mitchell, C.J. (2018). Testing for depressive realism in a clinically depressed sample. Behaviour Change, 35, 108-122.

Samtani, S., & Moulds, M.L. (2017). Assessing repetitive thought in clinical psychology: A critical review of existing measures. Clinical Psychology Review, 53, 14-28.

For a full listing of publications, please view my UNSW Research Gateway profile.

Awards, Fellowships & Grants


Hirsch, C.R., Bick, D., Seneviratne, G., Moulds, M.L., Goldsmith, K., Newburn, M., Bridle, L., & Newby, J.M. (2021-2025). A randomised controlled trial of a web-based early intervention targeting repetitive negative thinking (RNT) in pregnant women: an evaluation of its impact on perinatal anxiety and the mechanism of change. National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), £1,308,510

Holmes, E.A., & Moulds, M.L. (2021-2022). Imagining a future one can navigate beyond COVID-19: Using mental imagery. The Lupina Foundation, CAD$195,455. 

Holmes, E.A., Kanstrup, M., & Moulds, M.L. (2021-2024). Modulating the persistence of intrusive memories: From the lab to naturalistic environments. Swedish Research Council, 5,800,000SEK.

Schweizer, S., Mewton, L., & Moulds, M.L. (2020). Tracking the social, cognitive and mental health impact of COVID-19 from the womb to old age. UNSW COVID-19 Rapid Response Research Initiative.

McEvoy, P.M., Moulds, M.L., Grisham, J.R., Holmes, E.A., Moscovitch, D., & Hendrie, D. (2016-2018). Imagery as an enhancer of cognitive behaviour therapy outcomes for social anxiety disorder: a randomised controlled trial. NHMRC Project Grant, $481 624.

Bryant, R.A., & Moulds, M.L. (2016-2018). Early intervention for posttraumatic stress disorder. NHMRC Project Grant, $670 987.

Bryant, R.A., & Moulds, M.L. (2013-2015). Treating prolonged grief disorder. NHMRC Project Grant, $442 002.

Moulds, M.L. (2011-2013). Rumination and deficits in the recall of positive autobiographical memories in depression. NHMRC Project Grant, $254 208.

Kemp, R.I., Moulds. M.L., Paterson, H., & Mullan, B. (2011-2013). Towards a safer workplace: promoting healthy work environments through strategic research in memory and behaviour change. ARC Linkage Grant, $154 332.

Denson, T., Zadro, L., & Moulds, M.L. (2010-2013). Psychological factors that lead to risky, aggressive, and impaired driving. ARC Linkage Grant, $300 000.

Moulds, M.L. (2009-2013). Understanding and predicting the role of memory in depression recurrence. ARC Discovery Grant / Australian Research Fellowship, $350 000.

Denson, T., Grisham, J.R., & Moulds, M.L. (2009-2011). Regulating anger: Cognitive reappraisal, emotional suppression, and post-event rumination. ARC Discovery Grant, $170 000.

Bryant, R.A., & Moulds, M.L. (2007-2009). Cognitive behaviour therapy of complicated grief. NHMRC Project Grant, $378 750.

Zadro, L., & Moulds, M.L. (2006-2008). Developing strategies to ameliorate the aversive effects of ostracism. ARC Discovery Grant, $200 000.

Moulds, M.L. (2005-2007). Rumination and memory functioning in depression. ARC Discovery Grant, $150 000.


2020 Mid-Career Award, Australian Association of Cognitive and Behaviour Therapy (AACBT)

2014 Excellence in Postgraduate Research Supervision (Outstanding Award), Arc Postgraduate Council, UNSW

2013 Fellow, Association for Psychological Science

2013 Early Career Award, Stress and Anxiety Research Society (STAR)

2012 Scopus Young Researcher of the Year: Runner up, Humanities and Social Sciences

2010 NSW Young Tall Poppy Science Award, Australian Institute of Policy and Science

2010 NSW Young Tall Poppy of the Year, Australian Institute of Policy and Science

Other Information

Editorial Roles

Editorial Board member:

  • Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied
  • Behaviour Research and Therapy
  • Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry
  • Journal of Experimental Psychopathology